Just returned from 2 weeks in Tokyo. From what I gathered it is illegal to park a car on the side of the road in the city. Also, you can only purchase a car if you have somewhere to park it off street or in a garage. The permit is very expensive as i understand it. Car ownership seemed to be very limited due to excellent metro network in any event. I saw no congestion at all in the city centre during my time there. On several occasions I took a cab and was able to go from one side of the city to the other in 10/15 minutes- journeys which would have taken 30 or more minutes in London.

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I grew up in a true car centric urban hellscape, Dallas, Texas. But - while not impossible - pedestrianisation would be truly difficult multi-decade project there.

I've lived in the UK for nearly two decades now and there is fuck all reason this country loves cars as much as it does. Owning a car within the M25 is the equivalent of wearing a dunce cap - and driving your two tonne faux off-road hydrocarbon missile at 3mph through Marlybone at 8:00 AM is the equivalent of taking a drill to your prefrontal.

Cars should be legally required to display the point of embarkation, intended destination, and reason for the journey in a giant floating simolean-esque diamond above the vehicle. This would save me seething why Why WHY!!?! can't I cross kentish town fucking highstreet at 1pm on goddamn Sunday - where are these fuckers going? And where did they come from!? And why didnt they take the tube?

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I intensely dislike the implication that being pro-suburban and pro-car somehow makes one brainwashed, any more so than those blessed with visionary urbanism.

This all smacks of "the man in the town hall knows best" paternalism. Everything from "you're brainwashed to want to travel in an environment where you can choose your passengers, temperature, music and cleanliness" to "You should be nudged to live more healthily" - exactly the sort of statism which repels me from Labour in the first place.

The blog referenced in the article, The View from Cullingworth, on the other hand, is all about people living in a bottom-up way which suits them, rather than living to suit planners. I know which conservatism I stand with.

It is at least refreshing to see the honesty of those who wish to continue the anti-car crusade even after electrification renders the pollution fig-leaf irrelevant.

It's not even that I'm against building rows of pretty mock-Georgian townhouses in city centres, or that I even think that the car is a good way to navigate a big city. I just don't like the typical implication that the rest of the country needs to be more like central London. There's nothing wrong with wanting a garage, a garden, space to entertain friends and family, separate walls to your neighbours - and yes, space to park the dreaded car without being extorted by the council. It's almost certainly the most family-friendly.

If they are kept free of the crime and squalor that afflict so many (yes, even the ones hostile to cars), cities are great for students and young single adults who want to work hard and play hard. But some people just want the space, peace and quiet certainty offered by suburbia in which to raise a family. And pretty much everyone wants the option of a car no matter how good (I.e. heavily subsidised) the public transport network is. How else do you transport anything larger than a single suitcase, travel to the countryside, transport a young family or go anywhere the timetables and route plans won't take you? Any conservative platform worth its salt needs to make both realistic options for ordinary people.

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I'll be honest - as accurate as this piece probably is, it doesn't really speak to me simply because I don't live in London. I always get this empathy gap on the subject of urbanism - like, I guess I intellectually agree with most of the arguments and their conclusions but at the same time there's a viscerally angry tone that always leaves me cold.

And it's not simply a "not my problem" thing, a lot of issues that make me feel emotional really aren't my problem in a transactional sense (eg I will never be a recipient of UK foreign aid, but I was still spitting feathers when it was cut a couple of years ago). Maybe it's because various algorithms for whatever reason assume I'm a hardcore urbanist and push this stuff in my face, so I feel overexposed to it.

This is not a criticism of your piece specifically, nor with urbanism as a worldview, more the specific culture that has built up around the urbanist community, the rhetoric makes it sound like they believe the presence of cars in city centres is the most pressing problem in the world; and they rarely give the impression of giving mind to anyone who lives elsewhere (beyond saying something like "we want everyone to live in city centres, so then you wouldn't want a car either"). It's just... not very engaging to people like myself, and weird though I am I can't be the only one like me.

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I guess this is the reason for the conclusion. I just simply don’t believe car-culture is good or healthy, and that it’s proponents and defendants actually want it beyond reflexive instinct.

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